2 min

Intimidation and false pretences

While the Robocon investigation expands from Guelph to the call centre in Thunder Bay, there is a setback on another front. People from Elections Canada have told Joe Volpe they can’t investigate harassing phone
calls unless there are signs of intimidation or “false pretence,” which makes
one wonder how far they will take the Robocon investigation. But one electoral
lawyer says the agency doesn’t appear to understand the allegations being made,
so this may yet continue to expand.

The Main Estimates were tabled in the
Commons earlier this week, and they offer no clues as to the upcoming cuts,
though considering that these are the spending projections, you would think
they might. We do know that Natural Resources is taking a pretty deep cut as it
phases out a number of greening programs, while Correctional Services
Canada’s spending is going up. We have crime bills to pay for, after all.
Baird, meanwhile, insists that there won’t be massive layoffs in the public service
but that most of the job cuts will be done through attrition. Err, right.
Except that in certain departments, especially, lots of work still needs to get
done (think Coast Guard and prison guards), and it’s not realistic to assume
that attrition can take care of everything. But hey, this is Baird’s way of
telling you to close your eyes and think pleasant thoughts.

Immigration research centres are losing
their funding
. After all, they would give facts that are inconvenient to Jason
Kenney’s pronouncements, rhetoric and forthcoming arbitrary powers.

The government has quietly axed student
employment centres in favour of online tools. Well, except the online Job Bank
is currently offline because of a security breach, but never mind that.

Pundit’s Guide crunches some poll numbers to look at how the NDP leadership race might be shaping up (on the assumption
those poll numbers are an accurate reflection). She discusses it on Power Play here.

Conservative Senator Nicole Eaton is
launching an inquiry into the “political manipulation” of foreign foundations
(like environmental groups) setting up in Canada and the “millions of dollars”
that cross our borders “masquerading as charitable donations.” While Eaton
makes it sound like conspiracy theories and looks like she's playing into the
new Conservative war against environmentalists, the other side says that the
money they get is dwarfed in comparison to foreign capital coming in for
extraction sectors.

Those of you paying attention to these
sorts of things will note that Julian Fantino’s F-35 talking points have changed subtly, and he’s now saying that “contracts have not been signed” –
a possible indication that the government is starting to acknowledge that
the fighters' problems are spiralling out of control.

Today in Rights & Democracy news, the
organization is endorsing a listed terrorist
organization as a potential replacement government for Iran.

The budget date has been announced as Thursday, March 29, so keep your calendars clear. And brace yourselves for a month of breathless, hysterical speculation.

And this awesome graphic (with audio!) shows
the lighter side of the robo-call controversy. Meanwhile, here is a look at the long history of political dirty tricks in Canada.

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